Hong Kong Music Festivals Are Beautiful, So Why Won't Anyone Go To Them?

Most festivals in the United Kingdom take place in a fairly non-descript field. The farmer kicks the cows out by the truck-load, and in come thousands of pilled up revelers, stamping their Huarache-shaped mark on the countryside. So it’s a given, really, that festivals halfway across the world take place in far more gob-smacking settings.

Take, for example, Hong Kong’s Clockenflap Festival. Over on the harbour-facing West Kowloon island, It’s the sort of place where you can watch New Order inflate the neon love balloon of ‘True Faith’ while, just across the water, the dancing electric tinsel of the Honkers skyline is stacked before you in all its pixel-perfect glory. New York has plenty-good real estate, but only Hong Kong is that densely packed that it turns into building Tetris. Here, the soft immersive wash of Blur’s The Magic Whip was born, and witnessing the place, it chimes quite perfectly. Just look at those skyscrapers above. Aren't they a beacon for the future of festivals in the East?

The thing is, though, whatever the delights of the backdrop, at street level, Hong Kong has never been interested in the rock festival as a thing. Bar a small expat scene, the culture of gig-going just isn’t established, much less of festival-going. So much so that when Clockenflap organizer Justin Sweeting first started, he had to put introductory section on his website for locals, like: ‘What is a festival?’ and ‘How should one behave at a festival?’. All the important questions for newbies to the scene.